Bryan Muncipal Utilities

Bryan Municipal Utilities Director of Utilities Kevin Maynard speaks to the Bryan Board of Public Affairs during Tuesday’s regular BPA meeting at the BMU office on East Edgerton Street in Bryan. MAX REINHART/Staff

The Bryan Board of Public Affairs is developing a framework for customers who wish to generate renewable energy.

Bryan Municipal Utilities Director of Utilities Kevin Maynard said BMU periodically receives inquiries regarding interconnection of customer-owned renewable energy facilities.

In 2006, the Bryan Board of Public Affairs approved guidelines for interconnection of customer-owned generation, but the considerations discussed during Tuesday’s BPA meeting expand on that, particularly in terms of excess energy being fed back into BMU’s electric distribution system.

It also addresses a number of concerns on BMU’s part, including safety, operational, legal, technical and financial questions.

No action was taken Tuesday, but the board indicated a desire for BMU to bring a formalized set of standards before the board at its next meeting for further discussion and a possible vote.

Among the preliminary suggestions Maynard voiced Tuesday were that the facility:

• Be customer-owned (and not by a third-party) and be an “inverter-based” wind or solar energy facility.

• Be located on the customer’s premises and serve only that customer, not others.

• Be limited in capacity to the customer’s energy needs or demand requirements.

• Automatically disconnect from the electric distribution system during electric service interruptions.

The customer would be required to submit an application, pay for any necessary generation interconnection study or system upgrades and meet BMU interconnection standards.

Although the customer would be liable for those costs, they could potentially offset part of all of their energy use with wind turbines or solar panels, and receive a credit for excess energy delivered to the distribution system.

Maynard noted that existing rates are not designed for net metering service and that if less energy is purchased from BMU, some fixed costs would need to be recovered through rate increases or by shifting expenses to other customers.

He said new “unbundled rates” for these customers would need to be developed. He suggested that applicable customers’ accounts be credited annually, rather than on monthly bills, to avoid increased administrative costs on BMU’s billing offices.

Because BMU’s electric distribution system already produces enough energy to meet its customers’ demands, Maynard also recommended customer-owned generator capacity be limited to 1 percent of the system peak demand from the year prior.

Maynard noted that costs of solar panels and battery storage are down so customer interest in generation may continue to increase.

Board member Tom Sprow pointed out that city regulations regarding structure height may make wind power generation implausible for most customers.

BMU is soliciting public comment on the suggestions before formally presenting them to the board. BMU can be contacted at 419-633-6100.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

• Approved BMU to apply for Ohio Public Works Commission grants for a water main replacement project along South Lynn Street, from Wilson Street to South Street. BMU won’t learn weather it will be awarded the grants until July 2020, with work scheduled for 2021. BMU is expected to seek $250,000 to $275,000 for the estimated $750,000 project.

• Approved minimum cash reserve policies for both the water and communications departments.

• Opened the meeting with a moment of silence in recognition of Pfc. Brandon Kreischer, a 2018 Bryan High School graduate who was killed in Afghanistan last week, in addition to the lives lost in mass shootings last week in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

• Approved the sale of a lot in the city’s industrial complex on Bryan’s east side. The sale was previously approved by Bryan City Council on Monday (see full story in Tuesday’s edition).

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